Disclaimer; I'm not an audiophile, so take my comments on sound quality any way you like. Resonant surface audio technology A resonant surface audio device does not produce sound by vibrating air using a moving membrane (like a normal speaker). Instead the device diffuses vibration across the surface on which it stands or to which it is connected. So a resonant surface speaker placed on a desk, produces sound by vibrating the surface of the desk. Damson Audio Despite being only two years old, Damson Audio already has a solid track record of making reliable audio products using resonant surface audio technology. They explain their technology here. Damson's early product (a mobile Bluetooth resonant surface speaker called the Twist), received moderately positive reviews; 6-7 was typical. You can see a very brief demonstration of it here. Damson Audio Headbones Damson's Headbones were launched as a Kickstarter campaign last year. Given the moderate success of their previous products, and the fact that their Headbones use the very mature bone conduction technology found in decades of hearing aids and used for underwater communication, I thought it would be worth a punt. In fact the use of bone conduction is not new by any means. Beethoven used it when he was deaf and unable to hear his piano when playing; he placed his head physically on the piano while playing, so the vibrations would reach the auditory nerve by travelling directly through the skull. An advertised advantage of the Headbones is that since they sit in front of the ear (on the temporal bone), and do not cover the earhole at all, you are able to listen to whatever audio source is providing the sound through the Headbones, whilst simultaneously being able to hear ambient sound. Unlike closed or open headphones, the Headbones do not obstruct the passage of sound into your ear canal. More on this later. The Headbones are presented well, packed in a rigid case like a sunglasses case. In the image at right you can see the Headbones have three ports; from closest to farthest, a 3.5mm line out port (in case you want to plug in your own earphones), a micro USB port (for charging), and a line in port (in case you want to use the Headbones with an audio source which doesn't have Bluetooth). The volume up and down buttons are between the USB port and the line in port. There's a built in mic so you can use it for phone calls and Skype. The Headbones actually come with a cheap set of quite usable earphones. I gave them a go. They fit comfortably deep into the ear canal, and sound pretty good. Without any audio input, they act as rather formidable earplugs, excluding outside sound fairly effectively. This is actually another way to use the Headbones; if you want to isolate the audio from the Headbones, you can plug these earphones into the line in port (just to keep the cable out of the way), and they'll provide good isolation from ambient noise. The Headbones come in a couple of colour configurations; I chose the carbon fibre model. In these images you can see the LED at the rear of the device, and the on/off/pairing button on the front right earpiece. The LED at the front blinks blue rapidly when the device is turned on (a voice prompt sounds, 'Powering on'), and blinks blue periodically when it has been paired and is in use. It blinks blue rapidly, then red, when the device is turned off (a voice prompt sounds, 'Powering off'). In the photo at right here, you can see the flat plate which sits just in front of your ear. These photos show details of the adjustable headstrap. They're surprisingly comfortable to wear. Technical specifications * Bluetooth: Version 4 CSR APT-X Lossless * Battery type: Built in Lithium Ion * Battery size: 320mAh * Playback time: Up to 10 hours (bone conduction) 20 hours Headphones. * Standby time: Up to 300 hours (12 days) * Built in microphone: For Handsfree calls * Support for two simultaneous connections: Yes * Auto switch for call answering: Yes * Water resistant: IPX5 supported * Frequency response: 60hz - 20khz * Weight: 80g (2.8oz) They are surprisingly well balanced. The large bar at the back which looks awkward, doesn't feel heavy or irritating. That 320mAh battery was a great idea; my Jawbone Era gets about 4 hours of talk time out of its 80mAh battery, and I haven't run my Headbones' battery flat yet, so the 10 hours of listening time in bone conduction mode is looking very realistic. Those of us who backed the Headbones on Kickstarter will also receive free of charge (as a stretch goal), the Headcase, a hard travel case with a built in 2,200MaH lithium ion battery, a very intelligent accessory. Performance The Headbones are already receiving much better reviews than Damson's previous products. My personal experience with them has been great. As I'm not an audiophile I won't be going on about how I listened to a range of different musical pieces and movie soundtracks, and load my analysis with terms like 'plummy embouchure', 'deeply cinnamon tone', 'sparkling upper register', 'subdued thrashing in the mid-levels', and 'sadly limp when tempo increases'. I've mainly been listening to Enya, gaming, and recording narration for some instructional videos. All I can say is the Headbones sound really good when used for all three purposes. I was expecting weak tinny sound, slightly muffled. I was delighted by strong warm sound, with excellent clarity. I typically have them turned down a few steps from maximum, and with PC volume at 80%. Heavy bass causes powerful vibration which can be overpowering at loud volume, but definitely fun in games. It's really useful being able to hear ambient sound while listening to music or playing games; the Lady of the House considers this a definite plus, since I no longer have an excuse for failing to attend to her behests. Some years ago I used a pair of Audio Technica A400s, which I really enjoyed. So I'm not entirely ignorant of what decent audio should sound like. What I can definitely say about the Headbones is that they really deliver. I can't notice any difference in the listening experience between using them and using a pair of regular headphones. I was actually expecting a significant difference, but there isn't any. This makes sense when you think about what's actually happening at a technical level; the vibrations are still reaching the cochlea, they're just taking a different route (via the temporal bone), which bypasses the ear drum. Comments and questions welcome.